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Over Easy: TX Prosecutor Schedules Execution for Scott Panetti but Doesn’t Tell Defense Counsel

http://youtu.be/0WTn78SIRvc

Scott Louis Panetti, a severely mentally impaired Texas inmate who once wore a purple bandanna and a cowboy costume to his capital trial, called himself “Sarge,” and subpoenaed JFK, Jesus Christ, Anne Bancroft, and the Pope to testify in his defense, is scheduled to be executed on December 3, 2014. Kerr County District Attorney Bruce Curry asked for and received the date Mr. Panetti is to be killed, without notifying Panetti’s defense attorneys. Had it not been for a newspaper reporter asking questions, the defense would have remained uninformed.

Once a person is scheduled for execution, he can challenge it, through evaluations that show mental impairment and a lack of competency to understand impending execution. Pursuant to Ford v. Wainwright, 477 U.S. 399 (1986), persons who are so out of touch with reality that they cannot understand their punishment or the purpose of it – cannot be executed. A petitioner who makes a Ford challenge is entitled to a competency evaluation.

By failing to inform defense counsel, Kerr County DA Curry intentionally, willfully and maliciously attempted to deprive Mr. Panetti of any meaningful opportunity to be evaluated for competency. In order to expedite the killing of a mentally impaired man and with disregard for common law and basic human decency, Curry sneaked around behind the defense attorneys’ backs, to get a death warrant and a death date. Now, and only because of a small article in a Houston newspaper, the defense will have one week to have their client evaluated before he is to be executed.

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Over Easy: TX Prosecutor Schedules Execution for Scott Panetti but Doesn’t Tell Defense Counsel

http://youtu.be/0WTn78SIRvc

Scott Louis Panetti, a severely mentally impaired Texas inmate who once wore a purple bandanna and a cowboy costume to his capital trial, called himself “Sarge,” and subpoenaed JFK, Jesus Christ, Anne Bancroft, and the Pope to testify in his defense, is scheduled to be executed on December 3, 2014. Kerr County District Attorney Bruce Curry asked for and received the date Mr. Panetti is to be killed, without notifying Panetti’s defense attorneys. Had it not been for a newspaper reporter asking questions, the defense would have remained uninformed.

Once a person is scheduled for execution, he can challenge it, through evaluations that show mental impairment and a lack of competency to understand impending execution. Pursuant to Ford v. Wainwright, 477 U.S. 399 (1986), persons who are so out of touch with reality that they cannot understand their punishment or the purpose of it – cannot be executed. A petitioner who makes a Ford challenge is entitled to a competency evaluation.

By failing to inform defense counsel, Kerr County DA Curry intentionally, willfully and maliciously attempted to deprive Mr. Panetti of any meaningful opportunity to be evaluated for competency. In order to expedite the killing of a mentally impaired man and with disregard for common law and basic human decency, Curry sneaked around behind the defense attorneys’ backs, to get a death warrant and a death date. Now, and only because of a small article in a Houston newspaper, the defense will have one week to have their client evaluated before he is to be executed.

Upon learning of Mr. Panetti’s impending execution date by way of a newspaper article, the defense filed an Emergency Motion to Withdraw or Modify the December 3 Execution Date. Not surprisingly and sinking to the occasion, the prosecutor opposed the defense emergency motion, because prosecutors like this are not burdened with the likes of ethical conduct. Curry can engage in egregious prosecutorial misconduct and enjoy absolute immunity from suit or accountability, but even if he didn’t, he can rest assured that a dead man will never question his actions.The defense responded: (more…)

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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